Press Release

20 Nov 2014

Van Andel Institute’s Purple Community® launches online store to benefit biomedical research and science education

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (November 20, 2014) – Purple Community, the dynamic community engagement program that supports Van Andel Institute (VAI) biomedical research and science education programs, recently launched an online store.

The store offers more than 20 Purple Community products in categories such as apparel, drinkware, spirit and travel. A portion of every purchase supports cancer and neurodegenerative disease research at VAI.

Through the site, groups hosting events can place bulk orders of popular fundraising items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, bracelets and foam fingers. This area of the online store is designed to accommodate Purple Community’s national expansion.

“In 2014, Purple Community events took place throughout Michigan, the U.S. and even the U.K.,” said Nikki Outhier, Purple Community national programs manager. “As Van Andel Institute and Purple Community expand their reach, we’ll continue to develop new systems to support our friends around the globe.”

Through Purple Community, an expanding universe of individuals, schools, teams, companies and corporations raise funds in a variety of ways, such as employee campaigns, consumer contributions and community athletic events to benefit research at VAI. Thanks to a long-standing endowment created by Jay and Betty Van Andel, fully 100 percent of all donations go directly to the work being done in Van Andel Institute’s laboratories and classrooms.


Purple Community is Van Andel Institute’s dynamic community engagement program that connects individuals, schools, teams, companies and corporations that want to join the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases to the resources needed for action. Individualized tools and customized assistance are available to create events and programs that help raise funds for biomedical research and science education at Van Andel Institute. Begun in 2009, Purple Community is expanding nationally, with more than 160 events scheduled in 2014. The program recently surpassed the $1 million mark in donations. Thanks to a generous endowment from Jay and Betty Van Andel, every dollar of every donation goes directly to the cause. Find out more about Purple Community by visiting www.purplecommunity.org. 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®.


Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers in more than 20 on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. Find out more about Van Andel Institute by visiting www.vai.org. 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®.